Question on etiquette
Thread poster: babs guzman

babs guzman  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:19
French to English
May 23, 2006

I'm new to this forum. I've been a freelance translator for 10 years and have worked mainly for Canadian and American clients - and I've been fortunate not to have any major problems. Some American clients send me a PO to confirm job, others do so by email. This is my first European client (France); they have good ratings in the Blue Board. But I want to know if it is standard practice to request a PO or contract. Also, is it ethical to ask when I could expect payment and if they do payments by PayPal. I sent my invoice but they did not acknowledge my invoice. They did however give me 4 additional jobs - which I'm happy to do but I'd like to ask them how and when I can expect payment. Does anyone have an opinion? They are a legitimate outfit, and like I said they got excellent reviews on the Blue Board.
Thanks in advance for anyone's opinion(s).

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Local time: 21:19
English to French
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Business etiquette May 23, 2006

As far as I know, POs are not that common in France. However, you are free to request one if that's the way you work, and you may want to have a template ready in case your customer doesn't have one.

Regarding payment, feel free to ask them. The PM or the accountant should have an answer to that.

good luck!


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Charlotte Langbeen  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:19
Member (2002)
English to Danish
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PO is normal .... May 23, 2006

I always request a PO or a even just a PO number in an e-mail stating the rate we have agreed upon, the deadline etc. When I send my invoices (as an e-mail attachment) I always write: "If you could confirm with me that you have received the invoice, that would be great." Many of my clients pay after 60 days (even if it says 30 days on their paperwork). Some take longer and the good ones shorter.


Invoice on time – send invoices immediately if you don’t you can’t expect to be paid on time. Clearly address the invoice to ensure it reaches the correct person along with when the payment is due

Crystal clear communication – keeping on top of regular communication with your clients and suppliers is key. Follow up invoices with a call to confirm receipt and advise clients of any outstanding payments

You can always tell your client that it is your policy never to have more than XXXX amount of dollars out with a new client. And for you to keep accepting jobs, they will need to take care of the first couple of invoices ...

However, I have never had problems with companies who have a good rating on ....

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babs guzman  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:19
French to English
Thank you Charlotte and Sarah May 23, 2006

Thanks for your opinions. Much appreciated. When it comes to on-time invoicing, I've always been a stickler for that, and keeping on top of any money-related matters.
So it's really too early to get worried. I should just be grateful that after the first job, they gave me 3 more, and I guess that's a positive sign.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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What is a PO (technically speaking)? May 24, 2006

babs guzman wrote:
But I want to know if it is standard practice to request a PO or contract.

What is a PO but any document (electronic or otherwise) from the duly authorised person in the client's business formally authorising the purchase of your service, along with details about the service? Why then must a PO be a separate PDF file or similar? Why can't a PO simply be an e-mail of confirmation (in which the sender uses words or responses which are unambiguous)?

I have several clients who send me the PO only after the job is done, because the nature of the job can't always be certain until it is done. For them (and for me then) the PO is simply a piece of admin to be dealt with, with no real purpose but to make the accountant happy.

Also, is it ethical to ask when I could expect payment and if they do payments by PayPal.

I'm not a European person, but IMO discussing payment upfront is good in any business relationship.

I sent my invoice but they did not acknowledge my invoice.

Many people don't acknowledge receipt of e-mails, invoices and completed jobs. If you want confirmation or acknowledgement, ask for it (or enquire about it politely after a day or two).

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Local time: 05:19
French to English
POs in France May 24, 2006

sarahl wrote:

As far as I know, POs are not that common in France.


Almost all my clients over the past 15 years have been based in France and I would say that approx. 90% of the agencies I have dealt with systematically send out POs for each job. The only exceptions are very small outfits, and they usually send an e-mail confirming the order and giving me an order number to quote.

I find that direct clients, however, never send out POs - but if an order is placed by phone, they are always happy to send an e-mail confirming the order.

Personally, I would not be happy doing a job without any kind of written record of the order and agreed terms ...


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